John Rawls's A Theory of Justice at Fifty: An Anniversary Conference

Rawls Poster Artwork

September 24–25, 2021

University of Notre Dame
McKenna Hall Conference Center

2021 brings the 50th anniversary of the publication of A Theory of Justice and the centenary of John Rawls's birth. In September of this year, the University of Notre Dame will host an international conference to mark those anniversaries. The conference will bring together approximately 25 of the best political philosophers in the world who engage Rawls's work, some critically and some sympathetically. The conference promises to advance scholarly understanding of his thought and its relevance to contemporary politics. 

Read more about this conference.

View the schedule.





National Endowment for the Humanities
Notre Dame's Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Henkels Lecture Fund
The Sekyra Foundation


Fritz Thyssen Foundation 
Notre Dame's Nanovic Institute for European Studies
Notre Dame Department of Philosophy 

Getting Here:

By Air

South Bend International Airport is about 15 minutes by car from the Notre Dame campus (flights should be booked to South Bend, Indiana — airport code SBN). Various transportation methods are available (e.g., taxi, rental car, limo).

Visitors also can fly into Chicago then drive or take a bus to Notre Dame. The University is about two hours by car from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and about 90 minutes from Midway International Airport.

By Train

The South Shore Line trains run directly from the Chicago Loop (at the corner of Michigan and Randolph) to South Bend International Airport (about a three-hour trip). From the airport, the Notre Dame campus is approximately a 15-minute ride by car. Various transportation methods are available (e.g., taxi, rental car, limo).

Conference Schedule

Day 1, September 24

8:50 am - Welcome

Session One: 9–10:30 AM

Method in Political Philosophy
Aaron James (UC, Irvine) and Laura Valentini (KCL/Munich)

10:30–10:45 AM BREAK

Session Two: 10:45 AM–12:45 PM

Rawls, Race and Non-Ideal Theory
Charles Mills (CUNY), Tommie Shelby (Harvard), Henry Richardson (Georgetown)

12:45–2 PM LUNCH

Session Three: 2–3:30 PM

Rawls and Equality
Elizabeth Anderson (Michigan) and Michael Otsuka (London School of Economics and Rutgers) 

3:30–3:45 BREAK

Session Four — 3:45- 5:45 pm

Rawls and Public Reason Liberalism
Jonathan Quong (USC), Rainer Forst (Universität Frankfurt am Main), Kevin Vallier (Bowling Green)


Day 2, September 25

Session Five: 9–11 AM

Rawls and the History of Political Philosophy
Daniel Brudney (Chicago), S.A. Lloyd (USC), Peter de Marneffe (Arizona State)

11–11:15 BREAK

Session Six — 11:15 AM–12:45 PM

Rawls and Moral Philosophy
Stephen Darwall (Yale) and Susan Neiman (Einstein Forum, Berlin)

12:45–1:45 PM LUNCH

Session Seven: 1:45–3:15 PM

Rawls and Democracy
Joshua Cohen (Berkeley, Apple) and David Estlund (Brown University)

3:15-3:30 BREAK

Session Eight: 3:30–5 PM

A Theory of Justice vs. Political Liberalism
Samuel Scheffler (NYU) and Japa Pallikkathayil (University of Pittsburgh)

Session Nine: 5–6:15 PM 

Closing Panel: "What Can We Hope?"
Chair: Paul Weithman (Notre Dame); Speakers: Samuel Freeman (University of Pennsylvania), Erin Kelly (Tufts), Leif Wenar (Stanford)